Want to know the secret to getting my daughter to eat her broccoli? Marinating it in lemon juice and olive oil, then showering it in lots of Parmesan cheese before grilling it into tender submission. We polished off the whole bowl of florets covered in crisp, cheesy bits, fighting over the last little pieces that were extra-smoky and charred. If you want a grilled vegetable side dish that might potentially outshine any meaty main it's served next to, this recipe is it.
Marinate for Flavor and Adhesion
The reason why the broccoli needs to be marinated with olive oil and lemon juice is twofold: The marinade adds flavor and a bright counterpart to rich Parmesan cheese, and acts as a glue that keeps the grated Parmesan cheese from falling off. As the broccoli grills, the cheese melts and browns at the edges, adding savory flavor and little crispy bits. It's a reminder why a dusting of Parmesan almost always makes things better. Don't forget to zest the lemon before you juice it for the marinade — it adds a nice zip to the finished dish.
Cheesy Grilled Parmesan Broccoli
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 medium lemon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into large 2-inch-wide florets
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
Whisk the lemon juice, oil, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the broccoli and toss to combine. Set aside at least 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Meanwhile, heat an outdoor grill to medium heat (325°F to 375°F).
Drain the broccoli through a colander, then return the broccoli to the bowl (no need to wash). Sprinkle with the cheese and red pepper flakes if using and toss until the broccoli is thoroughly coated.
Using tongs, place the broccoli on the grill in a single layer, leaving at least 1/2-inch space between pieces. Cover the grill and cook, flipping the broccoli every 2 1/2 minutes, until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the zest, and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.